MOTT HAVEN, the Bronx — The paternal grandmother who raised Julissia Batties, 7, since she was five days old became alarmed last year when the girl’s birth mother took Julissia for a weekend visit in the Bronx and didn’t bring her back.
Now, Yolanda Davis is getting ready to bury the little girl who “never gave a problem.”
“She was very compassionate. She loved to sing and loved shopping,” Davis recalled of her granddaughter.
Batties was discovered unresponsive Tuesday at her mother’s Bronx apartment after a 911 call.
“The medical examiner told us there were abdominal injuries to Julissia,” Davis told PIX11. “Old ones and new ones.”
Police have said they suspected this was a child abuse death, because of blunt force trauma to the girl’s stomach, as well as trauma to her face and arms.
A source told PIX11 that Julissia may have been hit Tuesday morning, because she kept going to the kitchen for snacks in the family apartment at Mitchel Houses in Mott Haven.
The New York Post reported the girl’s older half-brother, who is 17, told police he punched Julissia in the face eight times that morning. But those are not the injuries that caused Julissia’s death, and no arrest was announced as of Friday evening.
Davis on Friday morning said there was trouble between Julissia’s mother and father, who is Davis’ son, since the time the girl was born.
“I didn’t even see my daughter since she was two,” Julius Batties, the girl’s father, told PIX11 Friday afternoon from his mother’s home in Brooklyn. “I can’t even sleep,” Batties said, before he started sobbing. “Why did they have to do my daughter like that?”
Davis said that Battles was constantly in legal trouble.
“The mother made a report against my son and had my son arrested multiple times,” Davis said. “I was at the courts all the time,” she added.
The grandmother ended up being named the newborn’s primary caretaker.
Davis has a thick binder of court records that show police complaints and custody decisions that date back to the time Julissia Batties was born on April 26, 2014.
The paternal grandmother was assigned custody in early May 2014 and said Julissia’s mother used to visit the girl in Brooklyn, at the grandmother’s apartment.
“I got the baby from the hospital on May 1, 2014. She was five days old,” Davis recounted.
Davis said she would have the birth mother visit the little girl where she lived in Brooklyn.
The grandmother recalled to PIX11 what her granddaughter was like.
“Julissia never gave a problem. She was a perfect child. She had neat handwriting. She loved going to Target and Walmart. She was an usher at church and loved the bishop,” Davis said.
The grandmother said the family was working with St. Christopher’s Services and the Administration for Children’s Services.
But in March 2020, just as the pandemic was hitting New York City, Davis said her granddaughter was not returned from a weekend visit with her biological mother.
A caseworker reached out to Davis.
“She said the reason why Julissia was on an extended visit with her mother was because of the pandemic,” Davis recalled.
The grandmother had not seen the child in the last year and a half. The little girl’s father went to a makeshift memorial for Julissia in the lobby of Mitchel Houses in the Bronx on Thursday.
Batties told us he heard from the mother’s Bronx neighbors that “my daughter was walking around with black eyes and all of that.”
“The next day, they see her with shades on at a party,” Batties said.
ACS issued a statement Thursday on the case, saying “Our top priority is protecting the safety and wellbeing of all children in New York City. We are investigating this case with the NYPD.”
Davis said when Julissia’s mother took the girl for a weekend visit in March 2020, “she was supposed to bring the child back to the police department on Gold Street.”
Davis said Julissia never arrived and a supervisor said “the child was going to be on extended stay with her mother.”
The NYPD said the investigation was ongoing Friday.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).